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Safest Small Cars: Best 2017 Crash Test Ratings Logo By Jim Gorzelany of | Slide 1 of 14: Safest Small Cars Lead

Safest Small Cars: Best 2017 Crash Test Ratings

The safest new cars in dealers’ showrooms these days are not only those that are top-rated for their crashworthiness, but can avoid getting into an accident in the first place, thanks to a latter-day feature called forward-collision mitigation. This important safety feature senses when a vehicle is closing in too quickly on another vehicle or other obstruction, warns the driver, and will apply the brakes automatically if he or she isn’t reacting quickly enough to prevent or otherwise limit the results of a crash. Some systems can also auto-brake to avoid hitting bicyclists and/or pedestrians in the vehicle’s path.

Here's a safe bet – shop for your next car on

Unfortunately, while availability is becoming more widespread, not all cars and trucks offer this important safety feature. What’s more, not all auto-braking systems perform equally well at preventing or reducing the effects of a collision.

To help shoppers choose the safest small cars they can afford, we dove deep into testing data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and identified the following 13 models that, for 2017, earn top (“Good”) marks in each of the organization’s 5 crash tests, including front, side, roof strength, head restraint performance, and the more-recently added small overlap frontal test. Importantly, they further offer “Superior-rated” forward crash protection systems that will avoid a crash or substantially slow the vehicle, based on two separate tests conducted at 12 and 25 mph.

Since only a relative handful of vehicles come standard with forward auto-braking, and most models typically limit it to specific trim levels and option packages, we’re also noting its availability and what each car costs when so equipped (including the destination charge).


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